Arsenal: Henrikh Mkhitaryan continues to fill “pathetic” gaps

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on February 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on February 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /
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Arsenal were left embarrassed by Manchester City again, but credit where it is due, Henrikh Mkhitaryan didn’t take no for an answer. Until he had to.

I’ve really dedicated today to singling out the most notable performances, or lack thereof. Arsenal were left pantsed by Manchester City again, but to throw everything out as inadequate would be unfair to the few, the proud, the people who gave a crap.

I have already covered Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka, both of whom deserve a ton of credit for fighting when it really wasn’t going to amount to anything. But another guy who deserves to be singled out, perhaps the most important of them all, is Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Mkhitaryan was tied for second on the team with four tackles won and five ball-winning plays. He was defending up and down the pitch, never afraid to stick a foot in, make an uncomfortable tackle, or otherwise shake things up.

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On the attacking side, it was a lot of frustration for everyone, even the Armenian, who couldn’t muster anything to save the team. But he continues to show a quick trigger foot, which is always welcome among a club that has lacked just that as of late.

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Most importantly, it was in Mkhitaryan’s attitude that I found glimmers of hope. As I covered earlier today, Mesut Ozil was a shell of himself and at some point in the match, he accepted that it wasn’t going to get any better and let himself hover around the pitch like a wandering spirit.

I won’t criticize Ozil for what he isn’t. But I will say that I will continue to shake my head as I watch him mope around the pitch. I don’t necessarily expect him to change, because it’s probably too late for that, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate other players more.

Mkhitaryan is one such other player. I have already talked a bit about how Mkhitaryan fills in the missing pieces of Ozil, but I don’t think it’s any clearer than what we saw against Manchester City (round two).

While Ozil had already checked out of the match, as he is prone to do, Mkhitaryan was fighting tooth and nail to try to scrap something, anything, from an otherwise futile match.

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These “pathetic” gaps of not caring are, well, pathetic, and anyone that the club can bring in to potentially fill those gaps is a welcome presence.